GameFest—an annual tradition at Rensselaer that showcases student-designed games and celebrates creativity and innovation in video games—was held April 29-30. The event was open to the campus and local community. The 2016 theme, “Visions of the Virtual,” explored the new frontiers of virtual reality at the intersections of games, art, and science.
The two-day event kicked off on April 29 with Algorave 0x0F, an evening of cutting-edge electronic music, interactive visuals, and live-coding performances at the Quackenbush Building in downtown Troy.
Over the past 12 years, GameFest has grown from a small showcase of a handful of games designed by Rensselaer video students to include dozens of games designed by students. On April 30, the GameFest expo, competition, and symposium at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) featured over 50 student teams from colleges and universities across the Northeast, with a game design competition hosted by Vicarious Visions.
This year’s keynote talks looked at immersion and virtual reality from the perspective of both games and simulation. Indie developer Theresa Duringer, CEO of Temple Gates Games, discussed the future of game design for virtual reality and shares tips and techniques used in her award-winning VR game Bazaar. Artist and researcher Ruth West, director of the xREZ Art+Science Lab at University of North Texas, presented her groundbreaking work in combining art and science through immersive and participatory media, from virtual reality to data sonification.
GameFest was presented by the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences Program and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer, and was made possible in part by a grant from the Empire State Development (ESD) agency of New York State. In January, ESD announced that Rensselaer would be home to one of three new Digital Gaming Hubs that will receive $150,000 each, per year for three years. The new Digital Gaming Hubs will encourage students and businesses to create new innovative technologies.
Click to view a list of the GameFest2016 award winners.